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Understanding the Internet Habits of Australian Children

Understanding Internet Habits of Australian Children for Parents

It will come as no surprise that the majority of Australian children view their digital citizenship as being fundamental to their wellbeing. Our reliance on the Internet as a country only continues to grow. Due in part to COVID-19, a staggering 99% of Australians accessed the Internet in the 6 months to June 2020. This is an increase from 90% in 2019.

Have you ever wondered what your child is doing on their phone or computer for hours at a time every day? Understanding how your child is using the Internet is important for understanding how to keep them safe online. Here’s a look at the Internet habits of Australian children and what it means for you as a parent.

Why It’s Important To Be Aware

It is becoming more common for children to turn to a screen instead of a person for information, advice and help. About one third of adolescents have used the Internet to source information about their own mental health problems.

We know that the Internet can be a dangerous place for kids. Bullying, predatory behaviour and explicit content are among the threats your child can be exposed to online.

There is plenty of evidence that intense use of social media, especially by teenage girls, is correlated with increased anxiety and depression. Additionally, spending at least two thirds of one’s free time gaming has also been shown to correlate with adverse mental health outcomes.

It’s important for parents to acquaint themselves with the Internet activity of their child. Doing so helps you to know when it may be necessary to provide your child with support.

So How Are Australian Kids Using the Internet These Days?

A study from 2014 showed that nearly a third of online Aussie teens are using the Internet to access 7-12 different types of activities.

Here’s a snapshot of how Australian teenagers are using the Internet:

What They Are Using the Internet For

  • 64% for streaming video
  • 78% for research and general browsing
  • 54% for social media
  • 47% for games
  • 78% for emailing

When They Are Using the Internet

  • 27% of teens use the Internet between 9:00am and 2:59pm
  • 49% of teens use the Internet between 3:00pm and 4:59am
  • 74% of teens use the Internet between 5:00pm and 10:00pm
  • 28% of teens use the Internet between 10:00pm and midnight
  • 8% of teens use the Internet between midnight and 6:59am

How To Keep Your Child Safe Online

There are ways to monitor and restrict your child’s Internet use that can help keep the safe online. These include using parent control settings and programs such as Net Nanny.

However, as your child gets older, they are more likely to learn how to bypass these controls. That’s why it’s also important to establish an open and trusting dialogue with your child. This is so that your child feels comfortable coming to you if something they see online that upsets or confuses them.

Why You Don’t Need To Worry

Remember, not everything about your child’s Internet use is a cause for concern. It’s important to take into account that healthy and age-appropriate activities that in the past were done offline are now something kids do on their devices. For example:

  • Socialising with friends
  • Listening to music
  • Shopping
  • Learning and doing homework
  • Exploring personal interests

It goes without saying that the Internet is an invaluable source of information and entertainment. When used the right way, it can be enriching to your child’s development. If your family needs help getting connected on the right broadband plan, leave it to the experts at Compare and Connect to find the plan for you at no extra cost.

Sally Writes 22 Jan 2021